Arizona reports 933 new coronavirus cases, 69 more deaths
This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Saturday, Aug. 15.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 933 new coronavirus cases and 69 additional deaths on Saturday morning.
That brought the state’s documented totals to 192,654 COVID-19 infections and 4,492 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Multiple key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic, including coronavirus-related hospitalizations, are at or near the lowest they’ve been in weeks.
The rolling seven-day average for newly reported cases was 952.57 on Friday, dipping under 1,000 for the first time since June 7, according to tracking by The Associated Press.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths was 48.86, falling below 50 for the first time in August.
The spread of coronavirus in Arizona has been slowing in the weeks after the implementation of face mask requirements by local governments in many areas — including all of Maricopa County — and statewide executive orders to close businesses such as bars and gyms and to restrict restaurant occupancy.
Those moves were made after the state became a global hot spot for the coronavirus, which has no impact on some people and is seriously debilitating or fatal for others. Infected people without symptoms – which include but are not limited to cough, fever and difficulty breathing — are capable of spreading the virus.
Arizona’s weekly positive rate for diagnostic PCR tests, which indicates how much the virus is spreading, is on pace to fall for the fifth consecutive week. It was 6% for the 34,379 tests given and processed since Sunday that have been reported by the state.
Weekly rates are based on when the samples are taken, not when they are reported, so the percentage for recent weeks can fluctuate as labs get caught up on testing backlogs.
The weekly positive rate was 5% in early May and started climbing after Gov. Doug Ducey let Arizona’s stay-at-home order expire. It peaked at 21% the week starting June 28.
The Arizona health department’s daily reports present case, death and testing data after the state receives statistics and confirms them, which can lag by several days or more. They don’t represent the actual activity over the past 24 hours.
The hospital data posted each morning, however, is reported the previous evening by the hospitals.
Coronavirus-related hospitalizations declined again Thursday, continuing a weekslong trend.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients fell to 1,282.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds fell to 442, the fewest since June 12.
COVID-19 inpatients peaked at 3,517 on July 13, and COVID-19 patients in ICU beds topped out at 970 the same day.
Overall, Arizona inpatient and ICU bed usage rates remained several percentage points below the high marks seen a month ago.
Inpatient beds were 83% full on Friday. The inpatient occupancy rate peaked at 88% on July 9-10.
The ICU occupancy rate decreased to 78%. It topped out at 91% on July 7.
Hospital bed data on the health department website does not include surge beds that have not been activated but can potentially increase capacity.
Below are Saturday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:
- Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez reported 11 new cases of coronavirus and no recent deaths. The Navajo Nation’s total number of deaths remains at 478 while the cases stand at 9,423.
- The state’s request for federal help with unemployment benefits has been approved, the Arizona Department of Economic Security confirmed Saturday. The funds will be available starting next week.
- The Arizona Department of Health Services on Saturday gave approval for two fitness facilities to reopen with strict outlines amid the coronavirus pandemic.